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Gaylord Texan resort sets June 8 reopening date after COVID-19 forced its closureThis article has
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Its parent company saw strong revenue in January and February before the pandemic forced the resort to close.

Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center will reopen its doors June 8 — some 10 weeks after the global coronavirus pandemic decimated the tourism and events business.

The hotel, which closed March 25, has reopened its online reservation system in hopes that the summer will bring back a slice of the previously robust leisure travel business from Texans who live close by. Reservations will remain flexible for customers who need to cancel or switch dates at the last minute.

One of the Grapevine resort’s biggest summer draws is its 10-acre outdoor pool complex, which features a 6,000-square-foot lagoon, a water playhouse and a 600-foot-long lazy river.

While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hasn’t yet cleared water and theme parks to reopen, the Texan said its amenities are part of the resort and not a waterpark. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no evidence COVID-19 can spread in water play areas, such as pools. And proper sanitation practices — such as the use of chlorine and bromine — should inactivate the virus in the water, the CDC said.

Gaylord Texan, which is managed by Marriott, is launching a Commitment to Clean initiative with better cleaning technology and hospital-grade disinfectants. It will have attendants dedicated to sanitizing daily and will have hundreds of new cleaning processes.

The resort also will implement social distancing protocols, including spaced seating. Customers also have the option of renting a private cabana with a TV, refrigerator and pool servers. The resort said its large atrium allows for distancing during activities such as scavenger hunts, canvas painting and wellness programs.

The hotel’s parent company, Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., said in its latest financial report that its five Gaylord resorts across the country were outperforming expectations in January and February, posting a 17.5% revenue increase to start the year. The business was hoping to do the same in March when COVID-19 hit, costing it about $14 million in virus-related costs.

Gaylord Texan’s first quarter revenue fell 22% to $56 million. The parent company’s overall revenue tumbled nearly 16% to $313 million for the first three months of the year. Besides Gaylord Texan, the company also owns Gaylord Palms, Rockies, National and Opryland, as well as entertainment venues.

But there are bright spots for the real estate investment trust. The company said it had rebooked 167,000 room nights at its resorts, which translates to over $75 million in revenue. For the second half of 2020, it has 742,000 contracted room nights.

Ryman Hospitality CEO Colin Reed said during the earnings call that it has seen minimal cancellations for the third and fourth quarters, with about 75% of cancellations occurring between February and June.

In a post-earnings report, Deutsche Bank said that it expects Ryman Hospitality’s large group meeting business to suffer in the near term but that it can shift its focus to hosting smaller groups and short-term leisure travelers. The firm said 2022 could be a strong year for the REIT if a vaccine becomes available.

Martha Neibling, the Texan’s director of marketing and public relations, declined to discuss the virus’s impact on the Grapevine resort or how many employees will return to work June 8. Last year, the resort had 1,300 employees, according to its profile as part of The Dallas Morning News’ Top 100 Places to Work.

The sprawling resort has 1,814 guest rooms and 488,000 square feet of meeting space. It also has shopping, dining, indoor gardens, a spa and fitness center, the water park and the Glass Cactus nightclub.

Natalie Walters. Natalie covers companies and the economy for the Dallas Morning News. She previously reported for The Motley Fool, TheStreet, and Business Insider -- all in New York. She is currently in the investigative journalism master's program at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix.

natalie.walters@dallasnews.com NatalieReporter Instagram Iconnatalee.walters

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